5 surprising (and simple) ways you can use squalane in your beauty routine

·5-min read

It might be lesser-known compared to ingredient heavyweights like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, but squalane is quietly making a name for itself as a powerhouse staple in our beauty routines. Its talents? Improving skin’s luminosity, salvaging brittle nails, adding moisture back into split ends, fortifying your skin barrier… and more. Yes, it's time to add squalane to your routine, stat.

So what is Squalane?

First of all, squalane is not to be confused with squalene. Squalene refers to the lipids naturally found in the body which, like collagen, deplete as we age. In the past, skincare was often formulated with squalene given its super hydrating properties but at the cost of millions of sharks.

Squalane, on the other hand, is derived from plants. Beauty brand, Biossance, was the first brand that created 100% sugarcane squalane by means of biotechnology. 'Made from sustainable sugarcane, squalane is a molecular match for the moisture that’s already a part of human skin, making it an incredibly effective bioidentical hydrator that also saves 2 million sharks per year,' the brand states.

‘Squalane is a natural hydrator and one of the best emollients around,’ agrees Faye Purcell, Development Chemist & Skincare Expert at British brand Q+A. ‘An emollient is a moisturising ingredient that works by covering the skin with a protective film to trap in valuable moisturise, preventing water loss from the skin’s surface into the atmosphere.’

What are the benefits of Squalane?

  • Locks in moisture

  • Improves elasticity

  • Antioxidant properties to help protect the skin

  • Non-comedogenic (it doesn't block pores)

  • An adaptogen (it adapts to your skin type and skin's needs)

Who should use squalane?

All skin types can use squalane which makes it a suitable ingredient for almost every routine, says Purcell. Better yet, it doesn't react with other ingredients so you can use it with other products and ingredients without fear of reaction. In fact, it can actually help them absorb into the skin better.

How should I use squalane in my current skincare routine?

'Squalane goes onto your skin last,' Purcell continues. 'Apply after actives, serums and hydrating mists but before moisturiser. Because of its protective capabilities, products layered on after an oil won't have as much success getting through your skin barrier.'

5 ways to incorporate squalane in your regime: For skin, hair and nails

Strengthen your hair

Yep, a few drops of squalane can do wonders for improving strength and split ends. WH Acting Beauty Editor Amelia Bell swears by squalane for her chemically processed strands: 'I apply the Biossance 100% Squalane Oil on my ends the night before I wash my hair; there is nothing like it to salvage my straw-like ends.'

Nourish your cuticles

Gel polish devotee? Chances are your cuticles are crying out for some squalane. Purcell recommends massaging a couple of drops directly onto fingers and toes or mixing a drop into your hand cream to keep your cuticles feeling soft and smooth.

Soothe sunburn

SPF is a non-negotiable in our skincare routines, but if you've found you've under applied yours and a little sun burn has appeared in its place, a hydrator like squalane could help soothe and calm the skin.

Repair cracked heels

Cracked heels are never fun. But squalane oil can work wonders for dry or sore skin. Simply apply a couple of drops to your feet after your bath or shower before bed, followed by some socks, and you're ready to roll.

Add it to your bath

Ever thought about adding squalane to your bath? Neither had we, but according to Purcell, it can help soften any rough skin including patches on your elbows and knees.

Squalane: the best formulas for face, hair and nails

Biossance Squalane and Amino Gentle Cleanser, £20

The perfect cleanser doens't exi... Oh wait, this foaming cleanser is pore-clogging and calming on the skin, digging deep into the dermis to rid your skin of pollutants, excess oil and make-up but all without stripping your skin. Win.

The Ordinary Hair Care Natural Moisturising Factors and HA

The Ordinary is making a case for adding skincare ingredients to your haircare. Yep, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, ceramides and squalane all feature in the latest line-up of haircare essentials. The result? Healthy hair–and a healthy scalp–that feels hydrated and happy.

Drunk Elephant F-Balm Eletrolyte Water Facial

A powerhouse of skin-loving ingredients–think niacinamide, squalane, ceramides, omega fatty acids and a whole loads of antioxidants –make this overnight mask by Drunk Elephant one hardworking formula.

The Nue Co Barrier Culture Moisturiser

Taking a more streamlined approach to skincare, this moisturiser has a whole host of ingredients, from squalane to niacinamide, to get more from your skincare. It helps strengthen your skin barrier and minimise excessive steps all at once.

Murad Targeted Wrinkle Corrector

To help combat dry skin whilst using retinol–a wrinkle-busting ingredient that can often come accompanied with tell-tale signs of dryness–this formula harnesses the power of hyaluronic acid (the hydrating molecule that holds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water) along with squalane.

Typology 100% Squalane

Nails, hair, skin– you name it. Tend to dry skin with Typology's do-it-all squalane serum. This serum can be used on your face and neck or slathered on the ends of your hair for a hit of hydration.

Q+A Squalane Facial Oil

Derived from olive oil, this affordable facial oil by new-ish skincare brand on the block, Q + A, was made for very dry skin in need of some serious moisture.

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